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"Understanding the Prime Mover: Ambivalent Swedish Press Discourse on the USA from 1984 to 2009”
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMK).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8429-3028
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 14, no 1, 5-33 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

As a pervasive historical construct that is both foreign and familiar, the USA has a looming presence in Swedish media discourse. Swedish journalists’ views of the USA can best be described as ambivalent — critical of a unilateral or too passive US foreign policy, while at the same time being heavily influenced by many aspects of the American economic model and culture. This article presents the results of an analysis of Swedish editorials, debate, commentary and cultural articles about the USA in time periods between 1984 and 2009. During these three decades USA actions are broadly framed against the backdrop of Cold War, globalization and cultural contestation paradigms respectively. The USA is seen as a formidable power, one that should be checked by others on the international stage. Cultural symbols based on historical European narratives about the US are called upon to illustrate reckless unilateralism (‘Space Cowboy’ Reagan) or the future-oriented entrepreneur as a role model for Sweden (during the Clinton years). The final decade under the cultural contestation paradigm is also ambivalent — the role of religion in the USA appears foreign to Swedish eyes, whereas the USA’s cultural misunderstandings with others appear familiar.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2011. Vol. 14, no 1, 5-33 p.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-65613DOI: 10.1177/1367877910384181OAI: diva2:464200
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2013-01-21 Created: 2011-12-12 Last updated: 2014-11-14Bibliographically approved

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Riegert, Kristina
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Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMK)

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